The Glendale Youth Orchestra (GYO) brings its 24th season to a close on Sunday at the Alex Theatre with a program that mixes classical works spanning the 18th and 20th centuries with a little bit of Brazilian jazz.
Traditionally, the end of season concerts of the GYO have been a showcase for some of the impressive individual talents in the ensemble, with young musicians taking a solo turn to demonstrate a fluency with their craft beyond their years – and this one is no different.
Among the brilliant soloists to take the stage on Sunday are two students from Crescenta Valley High School: Stephanie Yoon and Sarah Worden.
Yoon and Worden – senior and junior at CVHS respectively – have both nurtured their musical abilities since early childhood; Yoon since she encountered music at her elementary school when she was in the first grade, Worden through over a decade’s worth of private instruction from Herman and Boris Markosian at Metzler Violin Shop.
For Worden, her choice of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” presented a challenge not only for its virtuosic writing for her instrument, but also because Sunday’s concert will be the first time she plays the piece publicly.
“There are some technically difficult passages that I had to spend a lot of time on,” she said. “Capturing the right tone for the piece is also difficult.”
Yoon, on the other hand, selected Gabriel Fauré’s “Fantasy for Flute and Orchestra” because it has become a kind of signature piece for her.
“[It] is my piece,” she emphatically recounted. “I have practiced and played it many times and this is the piece I identify myself with.”
She also noted that while the piece may necessarily make virtuosic demands of the flute, it does require immaculate technique and poise in order to realize Fauré’s subtle writing.
“The first movement is slow and very romantic, while the second is light and fun,” she said. “Changing the mood in between the movements is challenging.”
As they both prepare for Sunday’s concert, Yoon and Warden both spoke enthusiastically about the GYO.
“I have had an amazing experience with GYO,” said Worden. “The playing is at a very high level and [instructor Brad Keimach] is very passionate about the orchestra.”
Yoon, too, recalled her experience with the orchestra as “extremely amazing” and praised Keimach for his energy and dedication in shaping his musicians into artists who seek to communicate directly with their audiences.
“The goal of musicians is to make music and send a message to the audience,” she said. “Our conductor, Brad Keimach, emphasizes that we as a group need to touch the listener.”
The GYO’s season finale concert will be held Sunday, May 19 at the Alex Theatre and starts at 7 p.m. Young people interested in participating in the orchestra’s next season are encouraged to attend auditions at Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty on May 24 and again on August 25.
To obtain tickets and more information about Sunday’s concert, visit http://www.glendaleyouthorchestra.com, www.alextheatre.org or call (818) 243-2539.